Character Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update April 2017

And in the category of – you just never know what “characters” you’ll run into at a Disney Park – you probably already heard that Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance this week at Disneyland Park, dressed in full Captain Jack Sparrow regalia and greeted guests riding the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction! Now that’s an effective reminder that next month the new movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, will be released and we should all go check it out for more adventures with our favorite pirate captain!

While sadly I wasn’t there for it, I was getting updates from friends as it happened and it sounded like a swashbuckling good time was had by all.

This follows Depp’s previous interactive video booth appearance in character as the Mad Hatter at Disneyland to promote Alice Through the Looking Glass.

But although such promotions are incredibly fun, they are pretty much once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and luck of the draw if you happen to be there.

Fortunately, for the rest of us, Disney Parks and Resorts continue to surprise us with various character appearances and while you never can predict who may pop up without warning to Meet & Greet, it’s always worth keeping your eyes open for an opportunity!

For example, I’ve only been lucky enough to spot Belle & Beast once wandering through Fantasyland at Disneyland Park this year, but I’ve seen Gaston walking there at least two or three times.

I haven’t always had my camera at hand, however. But I was quite lucky I did a few weeks ago, when who should I see waddling quickly through Fantasyland?

It’s a jolly holiday when the penguins are out!

Not just one, but TWO of Mary Poppins’ penguins moved rapidly through the area and were of course so immediately thronged by guests that I barely had time to get a picture to prove it happened – but it did!

Over the past few months, I’ve also seen a few instances of something I’d never encountered before – what looked like characters playing a game of “Duck Duck Goose” with young guests!

The first time I saw it was in front of the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. Goofy and Chip ‘n Dale were surrounded by a group of little ones who were clearly having an awesome time actually PLAYING with a character!

Two chipmunks and a dog playing “Duck Duck Goose”?

Another time I think I saw Merida playing the same game in Fantasyland near the Alice in Wonderland attraction.

But for those of you who haven’t caught this impromptu, unscheduled experience, there is always Musical Chairs with Alice and the Mad Hatter in Coke Corner, which happens on a more regular basis.

But it’s not just random character interactions that get updated at the parks. Sometimes new characters start to appear at regular Meet & Greet locations, too!

Olaf and Kristoff at their new Meet & Greet!

For example, recently, Kristoff and Olaf joined Anna and Elsa at their Frozen Meet & Greet in the Animation Building in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.

On the first day I tried to see Kristoff and Olaf, by the time I got to the front of the line – mid-afternoon – they had just left! So I made sure to check their visiting hours the next time I went (which were fairly brief – late morning to just after lunchtime on the day I was there). The way this multiple Meet & Greet worked was: first you entered one room and got to meet Kristoff and Olaf and take photos with them. Then you entered a second room to greet Anna and Elsa. Note: not all characters are necessarily going to be there on any given day. The day I finally saw Kristoff and Olaf, Anna stayed home in Arendelle, so I had a solo Meet & Greet with just Elsa in the second room!

Mousertainment Tip: While they’re not “officially” on the schedule, if you’re interested in meeting Kristoff and Olaf, it’s worth checking with the Cast Members working the queue to see if the gentlemen will be there in addition to the ladies that day or not, and if so, during what hours. Also, be sure to plan ahead for the line length as the wait time has increased with the addition of these new characters – I think I waited about 45 minutes-1 hour in the line the day I finally got to meet them.

Were you one of the lucky guests to see Johnny Depp at Pirates of the Caribbean this week? Or have you had an unexpected character encounter at the parks lately?

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